The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our March 13, 2022 message, Returning Home to God.
LISTEN TO THE SERMON
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Pastor James opened our new series, entitled “God’s Providence in Perilous Times” from the Book of Ruth. James preached from Ruth 1:1-22. From his message, we see:
1. Dark Background: The setting (Ruth 1:1-2)
- The Dark Context: the day of the judges, leaving the people of God, and famine
- The Discipline of the Lord (Chastening)
2. Death of Several Family Members (Ruth 1:3-5)
3. Decision to Return Home (Ruth 1:6-18)
- A word of hope and on the journey home
- First conversation (Ruth 1:8-10)
- Second conversation (Ruth 1:11-14)
- Naomi’s argument # 1 – I do not have any children for you to marry.
- Naomi’s argument # 2 – Even if I had a child today, would you wait for them to become old enough to marry them?
- Naomi’s argument # 3 – The hand of the Lord has gone out against me, and I do not want that for you.
4. Defining Moment (Ruth 1:14-18)
- Third conversation (Ruth 1:15-18)
5. Despairing Complaint (Ruth 1:19-21)
6. Divine Care and Hope (Ruth 1:22)
The Gospel in Ruth 1 – The word “return” appears 12 times in Ruth 1:6-22. God is in the process of bringing us back to Him. God brought us near in Christ. God is working even when we do not see it.
Principles to Consider
- Worldly Influence: Be mindful not to make life decision by relying on feelings and personal preferences and not on principles and promises of God’s Word
- Keep an Eternal Focus: When we are going through suffering and trials, remember to keep you focus on the precious promises of God for your eternal benefit
- See God for Who He Is: Be careful not to maximize one characteristics of God to the diminishment of others (judge versus merciful and gracious)
- Be thankful: Be careful of bitterness and anger. We must rejoice always, be prayerful without ceasing, and be thankful in all things (2 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Remember the history of God’s faithfulness
- Trust God’s Word: Be careful not to trust your feelings. Trust God’s Word. Trust His principles and promises.
Key Takeaway: Trusting God means that we trust in His absolute sovereignty, infinite wisdom, loyal love, and perpetual presence regardless of our feelings or our perceptions of the circumstances of life
BRINGING IT HOME: (REFLECT, REQUEST, RESPOND)
REFLECT: QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Read through the book at least once this week.
- Read Ruth 1:1-5. Describe the setting for the story. What is happening to the family?
- Pastor James quoted his youth pastor, Dr. Dwight Peterson, who said, “Life is determined by what you want…life is determined by the choices that you make.” How is that principle seen in this opening chapter of Ruth?
- Read Ruth 1:16-18. What were the commitments that Ruth was making to show her love to Naomi and her faith in God?
- After reading Ruth 1, describe how God shows kindness and love to Naomi through Ruth even when Naomi thinks the opposite of God?
REQUEST: PRAYER AND PRAISE
- Ask God to help you to grow God’s grace and enablement.
- Confess and repent of any sins that are in your thoughts, words or actions that hinder your growing in grace.
- Ask for the Holy Spirit to enable you to love others by believing and living out the gospel.
RESPOND: APPLYING WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED
- How can you love God more through what you have learned? (read, study, meditate, memorize, share)
- How can you love others more through what you have learned?
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
Suggested Scripture Study: Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:1-10; 1 Peter 1:3-9; Hebrews 12:14–15; and James 1:1-15.